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ACT I. SCENE I.
Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS1, and a Rabble
FLAV. Hence: home, you idle creatures, get you home;
Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
MAR. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule ?
2 CIT. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobler.
MAR. But what trade art thou? Answer me di
1 CIT. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soals 2.
I Marullus.] Old copy-Murellus. I have, upon the authorito of Plutarch, &c. given to this tribune his right name, Marullus. THEOBALD.
a mender of bad SOALS.] Fletcher has the same quibble in his Woman Pleas'd:
mark me, thou serious sowter,
"If thou dost this, there shall be no more shoe-mending;
Every man shall have a special care of his own soul,
"And carry in his pocket his two confessors." MALONE.
MAR. What trade, thou knave; thou naughty knave, what trade?
2 CIT. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
MAR. What meanest thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow ?
2 CIT. Why, sir, cobble you.
FLAV. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
2 CIT. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl5. I am, indeed, sir,
3 Mar. What trade, &c.] This speech in the old copy is given to Flavius. The next speech but one shows that it belongs to Marullus, to whom it was attributed, I think, properly, by Mr. Capell. MALOne.
4 Mar. What meanest thou by that ?] As the Cobler, in the preceding speech, replies to Flavius, not to Marullus, 'tis plain, I think, this speech must be given to Flavius. THEOBALD.
I have replaced Marullus, who might properly enough reply to a saucy sentence directed to his colleague, and to whom the speech was probably given, that he might not stand too long unemployed upon the stage. JOHNSON.
I would give the first speech to Marullus, instead of transferring the last to Flavius. RITSON.
Perhaps this, like all the other speeches of the Tribunes, (to whichsoever of them it belongs) was designed to be metrical, and originally stood thus:
"What mean'st by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?"
5 I meddle with no TRADESMAN's matters, nor women's matters, but with AWL.] This should be: "I meddle with no trade,man's matters, nor woman's matters, but with awl." FARMER. Shakspeare might have adopted this quibble from the ancient ballad, intitled, "The Three Merry Coblers :
"We have awle at our command,
"And still we are on the mending hand." STEEVENS.
I have already observed in a note on Love's Labour's Lost, vol, iv. p. 348, that where our author uses words equivocally, he imposes some difficulty on his editor with respect to the mode of exhibiting them in print. Shakspeare, who wrote for the stage, not for the closet, was contented if his quibble satisfied the ear. I have, with the other modern editors, printed herewith awl, though in the first folio, we find withal; as in the pre
a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neats-leather, have gone upon my handywork.
FLAV. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
2 CIT. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph. MAR. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
ceding page, bad soals, instead of-bad souls, the reading of the original copy.
The allusion contained in the second clause of this sentence, is again repeated in Coriolanus, Act IV. Sc. V. :-" 3 Serv. How, sir, do you meddle with my master? Cor. Ay, 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy mistress." MALOne.
6 -HER banks,] As Tyber is always represented by the figure of a man, the feminine gender is improper. Milton says, that
the river of bliss
"Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream."
But he is speaking of the water, and not of its presiding power or genius. STEEVENS.
Drayton, in his Polyolbion, frequently describes the rivers of
To hear the replication of your sounds,
And do you now put on your best attire?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
FLAV. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,
Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
You know, it is the feast of Lupercal.
England as females, even when he speaks of the presiding power of the stream. Spenser, on the other hand, represents them more classically, as males. MALONE.
The presiding power of some of Drayton's rivers were females; like Sabrina, &c. STEEVENS.
7 See, WHE'R -] Whether, thus abbreviated, is used by Ben Jonson :
"Who shall doubt, Donne, whe'r I a poet be,
8 - deck'd with CEREMONIES.] Ceremonies, for religious ornaments. Thus afterwards he explains them by Cæsar's Trophies; i. e. such as he had dedicated to the gods. WARBURTON. Ceremonies are honorary ornaments; tokens of respect.
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies". I'll about,
Who else would soar above the view of men,
The Same. A publick Place.
Enter, in Procession, with Musick, CESAR; AN-
Peace, ho! Cæsar speaks. [Musick ceases.
9 Be hung with Cæsar's TROPHIES.] Cæsar's trophies, are, I believe, the crowns which were placed on his statues. So, in Sir Thomas North's translation: There were set up images of Cæsar in the city with diadems on their heads, like kings. Those the two tribunes went and pulled down." STEEVENS.
What these trophies really were, is explained by a passage in the next scene, where Casca informs Cassius, that "Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images, are put to silence." M. MASON.
This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof, and declined so large a share of his favours and honours, as the other had constantly accepted. Velleius Paterculus, speaking of Decimus Brutus, says:—' -"ab iis, quos miserat Antonius, jugulatus est; justissimasque optimè de se merito viro C. Cæsari pœnas dedit. Cujus cum primus omnium amicorum fuisset, interfector fuit, et fortunæ ex qua fructum tulerat, invidiam in auctorem relegabat, censebatque æquum, quæ acceperat à Cæsare retinere : Cæsarem, quia illa dederat, perisse." Lib. ii. c. lxiv.: